Credit Counselling Service of Sault Ste. Marie & District
Tips for Christmas Spending
Your Balance This Christmas
coming holiday season can be a time of joy despite recent troubles on the world
stage and in our economy. This
year, as we contemplate the true meaning of the season, we should maintain
cautious optimism in our hearts and in our spending habits.
The following steps can help you keep a sense of balance
over both the holidays and your pocketbook.
in shaky times is key.
Fear and stress can provoke a mixed reaction to holiday spending.
Some may turn into overzealous reformed Scrooges and
blow their budget on extravagant entertaining and gift-giving they
can’t afford. Others may be so
anxious about the future, they’ll turn into the
grumpy Grinch, refusing to spend any time or money on the spirit of the season.
Both extremes can backfire. A
slowed economy is often boosted by consumer spending, especially during this
time of year, but you need to plan your budget carefully for the holidays.
a contract with yourself.
Write down the maximum amount you can afford to spend for the holidays
and resolve to stick to it. Break
down the amount and set a cap on what you can spend in the following categories:
gifts, entertaining, and miscellaneous items (such as travel, clothing or
decorating). Add some cushion to
your budget to cover unexpected or hidden costs.
Decide if you are going to pay cash or credit before you shop and keep
track of your purchases and receipts. Don’t
be tempted to spend beyond your means.
down your expenses. If
you can’t travel to be with the ones you love, send a video or a letter, this
can mean a lot and costs so little. Cull
your gift list and suggest that family members exchange names rather than buying
for everyone. Invoke a “make it
or bake it” rule for gift giving, adults can appreciate such gifts.
Although kids may still need the thrill of purchased gifts, they can help
keep family’s costs down by giving homemade gifts such as crafts, homemade
CD’s, or “coupons” offering to complete a special chore.
If time and money are at a premium over the holidays,
forego fancy dinner parties and organize a pot luck.
Recycle decorations -
remember they sit dormant in a box 11 months out of the year and new decorations
can be picked up for a bargain after boxing day.
If you have kids (young or grown), discuss what’s happening in the
world and how moderation and charity can be applied.
Ask them for suggestions on how this holiday season can be made more
meaningful and affordable for the family. If
you or loved ones have been directly hit by the economic downturn, think about
exchanging gifts of time such as babysitting, running errands or housework.
Don’t let limited funds discourage you.
It is in times of hardship that we need to remind ourselves of the
blessings we have overlooked in our lives.
Think back to your childhood and you’ll find that memories of toys and
trinkets are hazy, but times shared with loves ones much will be much more
smile costs nothing but can be priceless.
The spirit of peace and hope has remained triumphant for centuries
and will renew itself again this holiday season.
We wish you happy holidays and a prosperous new year on behalf of Credit
Counselling Service of Sault Ste. Marie.
“Helping you manage your debt” is a series of articles provided by member agencies of the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services. All member agencies provide a range of no or low cost services to help people solve their financial problems and improve their consumer and money management skills. For more information about credit counselling services in Sault Ste. Marie, please contact Credit Counselling Services of Sault Ste. Marie & District, 298 Queen Street East, Suite 2, Sault Ste. Marie, ON, P6A 1Y7 or visit our website at www.creditcounsellingssm.ca.